Lipstick Under My Burkha Movie Review: The Wail Behind The Veil
Women-centric films have been quite the rage since the past few years, but filmmakers making such films have nevertheless stayed within the confines of the ‘Laxman Rekha’ created by ‘sanskaar’. Which is exactly why Censor Board chief probably cringed at the thought of issuing a certificate to Prakash Jha’s production venture Lipstick Under My Burkha- for the film thumbs its nose at patriarchy and misguided morality with such a wicked grin that lesser mortals are bound to feel threatened by it. Set in Bhopal, Lipstick under My Burkha revolves around the lives of four women from different age groups- the college fresher Rihanna (Plabita Borthakur), who hails from a conservative Muslim family but prefers to wear ripped jeans and listen to Led Zeppelin. Then there is Leela (Aahana Kumra), a beauty parlour owner, who doesn’t blink an eyelid before getting down and dirty with her lover on her engagement day. Shireen (Konkona Sen Sharma), an industrious sales-woman whose husband (Sushant Singh) treats her like a baby producing machine and Usha Parmar or ‘Buaji’ (Ratna Pathak Shah), a middle aged widow who is so busy playing the role society has written for her that she has even forgotten what her own name sounds like. When it comes to performances, everyone without an exception has done a stellar job. From seasoned actors Ratna Pathak Shah and Konkona to the newbies Kumra and Prabita, all the women have packed in solid performances. If that was not all, even the men have done their fair bit- whether it be the bullying husband (Sushant) or the volatile boyfriend (Vikrant Massey). As for the film, Alankrita Shrivastava’s film is sure to shock many Neanderthals. There is a scene where a young bride not only has sex with her boyfriend on her engagement night, but also films the act for posterity... there is a scene where a middle-aged widow calls up her hunky swimming coach and indulges in phone sex with him. In an interview, Aahana Kumra had told me, “The film will make men look at their mothers, sisters and wives as women and not just female relations” and Alankrika has managed to do that with aplomb. In any other film, the sight of a middle-aged widow dyeing her hair and applying lipstick to meet the young man she desires, would have been something to scoff at- but in this film, it will make you wish you could reach out and give the widow a tight hug and a high-five. The film seeks to shed light on what goes behind the doors of middle class India-where a woman is married off against her wishes, where a girl from a traditional family dances to Western music in the privacy of her room, where an older woman touches herself while talking to the man she desires and where a woman lies down on her bed passively while her husband mounts her mechanically. However, what works for the film is that despite being such a serious subject, the director has been wise enough to serve it up with generous toppings of humour, without which, the film could have been a ‘rona-dhona wala’ movie and may have lost its appeal. But when a film makes you chuckle while sending across a message at the same time, filmmaker has clearly won. Take my word for it: Lipstick Under My Burkha is an eye-opener for sure...
Release Date : 21 July 2017
Producer : Prakash Jha
Director : Alankrita Shrivastava
Genre : Drama